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Jan 13, 2019 11:41AM
I just wanted to share my experience from bilateral mastectomy with prepectoral (above the muscle) alloderm mesh and tissue expander placements reconstruction in the hopes that is can bring some comfort to those about to do the same. I looked for this myself before the procedure and was unable to find anything.
I had my bilateral mastectomy surgery with prepectoral (above the muscle) alloderm mesh and tissue expander placements on November 9, 2018. Spent the night in the hospital, lots of pain meds so not too bad. Everything went well and was released around noon. I came home Saturday with two drains on each side to collect fluids. These drains needed to be emptied as they filled. These were horribly uncomfortable and I could not wait to get them out.
On the following Tuesday I went in for post op and had two removed. On Friday I returned to have the other two removed. (YAY).
I spent that first week basically on the couch resting. My husband was able to work from home, so I was lucky to have him around for anything needed.I was not in much pain, I would describe it more as discomfort. I was on 5 mg valium (for muscle spasms) and tramadol for a couple days but switched to valium and ibuprofen (as needed) and stayed on this for weeks. I work from home on a computer, so I was able to return to work on Thursday, 6 days after surgery. I could work laying on the couch. If I had to go into the office, I would have had to wait longer, as I was very tired for weeks after the surgery.
Week 2 I visited my plastic surgeon and received my first saline injection. I felt nothing during or after.
Week 3 I had my second injection and started to feel some discomfort as the expanders increased.
Week 4 I had my third and final injection. This was all my skin tissue could hold. At this point I felt like I had baseballs under my skin, uncomfortable, but not painful. I had to wait two weeks for tissue expander to silicone implant replacement.
Week 8, on Thursday January 3, I went in for the replacement surgery. It was a 2-3 hour surgery under general anesthesia. I was not in any serious pain, taking tramadol for a couple days, then ibuprofen for a day. By Sunday I was off all meds except antibiotics. My breasts felt SO much better as the silicone implants are soft and mushy. I was able to return to work on Monday (remember I work from home). I did not need any help, and just needed to take it easy and rest. I did have some stomach issues from the antibiotics so went off them on Tuesday.
Week 9 I had a post op visit on Tuesday and everything looks good, healing well. They kind of look like Barbie boobs, only smaller lol. However, I'm disappointed in the size. I was originally a C and am now a B. My PS said he put in the largest size he felt comfortable with because my skin was tight. However, he said as my breasts settle they will stretch some more and I can come back for a larger replacement if I want. He said it's a simple 45 minute surgery to swap the implants, so I will probably do it. I am also considering nipple rebuilding, which he also does. It's a 15 min surgery that you can drive yourself home from. Then tattoo for the finish. He showed me a picture of one of his patients, and they look like real nipples. I have to admit, the decision whether to remove the nipples or not was a hard one. One I made on the table on the way to surgery. But I do not regret it, because it's really easier for my PS to work with a clean slate and I was able to reduce my cancer re-occurrence to 1%.
Today I am 10 weeks post original surgery and feel pretty good. Starting to get some energy back, no pain or discomfort at all. So it was a total of 10 weeks for this entire process, and I was very lucky to have no complications.
9/1/2016, DCIS/IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+, HER2+
9/30/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
11/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Right
5/1/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right
1/3/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant